ACT & SAT Question of the Day: Mar. 31, 2014

If you are reading this in an email you received from me, do not click the link to below. Use the link to my website that is farther down on the email. (This link takes you to today’s question. If you use my archive, you will see the question related to my SAT explanation for that date.)

The answer is D.  The test writers would have to come up with some new kinds of questions if comma splices were banned from the test!  They show up consistently and you need to be prepared for them.  Whenever you see two independent clauses (which have a subject and a verb) as you see in this sentence, you have to make sure they are appropriately joined together.  The test writer’s solution for this sentence was to change the “it” to “which” and that works because “which” converts the second part of the original sentence into a modifying phrase rather than an independent clause.  (The pronoun “it” in the original sentence is the subject of the second independent clause.  “Which” is a pronoun that specifies or determines a specific item from a group but does not serve as the subject of a sentence or independent clause.)  Other solutions for fixing a comma splice can be to use a conjunction or a semicolon.  In addition, you can simply make the two independent clauses completely separate sentences by using a period between them.

In any event, just be alert for comma splice mistakes on the SAT Writing Test and the ACT English Test.  The test writers are certainly fond of including them on their tests.

I wonder if the ACT folks have something new for us this morning.

ACT Question of the Day: Use your “back” button to return to my website after reading the ACT Question of the Day.

Let’s give credit where credit is due.  I don’t remember seeing this question before.  Hooray for the ACT folks!  I give them a bad time for repeating their questions so often that I should give them an “atta boy” for including a new one.

The answer is K.  Before you even begin doing the math, there are some signals about where this question is going.  The key to this question is they ask you “…completely describes…?”  Right off the bat, you should recognize it isn’t going to be as simple as having only one solution as you are given in Answers F, G and H.  They even give you a hint in those answers by including the word “only.”  So, be suspicious of those answers.

When you multiply the left side of the equation you get 3x – 12 which is the same as the right side of the equation.  If you divide both sides by 3, you get x – 4 = x – 4.  Then you can see that whatever real numbers you substitute for x, they will always balance the equation.  For example, if you plug in 1, 2, 10, or 100, the equation always balances.

Words of “Wiz-dom”

Stephen Covey once said, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

I agree.  Your future is not determined by where your SAT or ACT score is today.  It is determined by what you decide to do about it.  If you decide to dig in and go to work as Rachelle did last night, your score will change and that effort could well make a difference in your life.

The SAT and ACT scores are too important to just accept them for what they are.  Yes, you probably have the will to improve them but do you have the will to prepare for improving them?  There’s a difference.  You are going to have to give up some time you would rather be doing something more interesting or fun.  That is, you have to decide you are going to invest time now to prepare for the test so that you get a reward later.   That reward could be getting into a better college or even a financial reward in the form of a scholarship.

Your decision will affect your future.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and ACT Wizard”


About Bob Alexander

Bob has been a professional educator starting with teaching biology, becoming a school administrator, and then working as an education lobbyist in Washington, DC. He got his start in national testing by becoming a consulting test writer, later joining Kaplan as a director, and finally starting his own business in 1995. He has written numerous books, consulted for school districts and colleges, developed his website and been featured on a DVD set. He offers SAT and ACT prep classes and tutors individuals and small groups of students in central Florida.
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